Computing Professionals Bill in last phase of deliberations

  • Final public consultation today, online survey goes live
  • Proponents have until June to present workable solution

DELIBERATIONS on the contentious Computing Professionals Bill 2011 (CPB2011) championed by the National ICT Human Resource Task Force are entering the final phase before a modified proposal is to be presented to the Government.

An online survey will be launched this week to gather the last round of feedback. The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) is holding an open session from 9am to 5pm Monday (May 28) to help clarify matters pertaining to the survey.

The public session will be in Hall 6 at the Putrajaya International Convention Center. Notice of the session was posted at MOSTI’s webpage.

The online survey will be active for two weeks and went live here today. This follows three separate rounds of pre-survey briefings beginning May 17 for members of the developer community, industry and academia.

[Editor's note: The online survey link above was working as at press time, but seems to be going down intermittently. We urge those concerned to be patient and try again later.]

The CPB2011, often referred to as the Board of Computing Professionals (BCPM) Bill, first came to light when a working draft was leaked on the Internet last December.

The proposed legislation seeks to regulate information technology professionals and calls for, among others, the formation of a national body, the BCPM, to register and certify all IT professionals and even making it mandatory for those who work on projects deemed of strategic or critical importance.

The working draft of the Bill was roundly slammed by many IT professionals and civil advocates who criticized it for having too much ambiguity and too many vague definitions. They also said the proposed Bill would stifle innovation and creativity and could potentially force companies to relocate from Malaysia or shut down.

The backlash had the Cabinet Committee on Human Capital Development chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin giving MOSTI the task of spearheading another round of deliberations, giving it until June to come up with a workable solution, or to scrap the Bill entirely.

An initial round of feedback which began last December had an overwhelmingly negative response. Only 3% of those who responded supported the Bill; about 25% supported the Bill but wanted to see amendments, while 72% were completely opposed.

Unfortunately, the pre-survey briefings held so far have been poorly attended, according to sources close to the matter.

According to documents obtained by Digital News Asia, the online survey would be the first time proponents of the Bill, essentially the National ICT Human Resource Task Force, acknowledge Malaysia’s intention to be a signatory to the Seoul Accord, which requires the formation of a national body like the BCPM.

The Seoul Accord is a multi-lateral mutual recognition agreement that wants to prepare ICT graduates for professional practice with a set of international standards for computing programmes, and by sharing best practices for computing education. The six founder-members are professional bodies from Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other signatories are Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In essence, professional qualifications in any one signatory country are good for any other member country of Seoul Accord.

To join the Seoul Accord, Malaysia would also need to revamp its IT education programmes to meet these international standards. Sources close to the matter told Digital News Asia that a proposed revised curriculum is now awaiting approval by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.
 
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